The Noisy Controversy Over Silent Sam

The Silent Sam statue honoring soldiers who fought for the Confederacy on the campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s was torn down by protestors during a rally. The statue, erected in 1913 with the support of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, has been a divisive issue on the college’s campus for years. This rally began as a support gathering for Maya Little, a Ph.D. student at the university, who, in April, defaced the Silent Sam statue with ink and her own blood and is now facing criminal charges.

About two hours into the rally, Silent Sam was brought down through a haze of smoke bombs. University Chancellor, Carol L. Folt and University of North Carolina System leaders stated that “while they respect that protestors have the right to demonstrate, they do not have the right to damage state property.”

Harry Smith, the new chair of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, stated that “neither UNC-Chapel Hill nor the UNC System have the legal authority to unilaterally relocate the Silent Sam statue. Thus, the board has no plans to take any action regarding the monument at this time, and we will await any guidance that the North Carolina Historical Commission may offer.”

Chapel Hill campus police issued arrest warrants for three people, not affiliated with the university, who were involved in toppling the statue. Thomas C. Goolsby, University of North Carolina System board member and former Republican state law maker, said that North Carolina law requires the monument be returned to Chapel Hill campus within 90 days of removal. According to North Carolina law, state-owned monuments cannot be removed or altered in any way without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission. The commission recently rejected a request to remove three Confederate monuments from the State Capitol in Raleigh.

Six days after the statue was brought down, seven people were arrested at a rally where both supporters and opponents of the statue clashed.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Alcorn State University Announces Unique STEM-Focused MBA Degree Program

The new STEM-MBA program at Alcorn State, the first of its kind in the state of Mississippi, will prepare students to become business leaders in STEM industries through courses on foundational STEM and business concepts, as well as data analysis and strategic decision-making.

Five Black Women Who Have Been Appointed to Dean Positions at Universities Across the United States

Here is this week’s roundup of African Americans who have been appointed to dean positions at universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to

PNC Partners With Howard University to Empower Black Entrepreneurship

The Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship aims to support and educate Black entrepreneurs from across the country. The collaborative initiative includes three other HBCU partners: Morgan State University, Clark Atlanta University, and Texas Southern University.

Saida Grundy Wins Race, Gender, and Class Book Award From the American Sociology Association

Dr. Grundy's book, Respectable: Politics and Paradox in Making the Morehouse Man, explores the culture and experiences of graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta, the country's only historically Black college for men.

Featured Jobs